These days, collaborations have become so de rigueur in the fashion industry that the announcement of a new one is rarely cause to bat a heavily lacquered eyelid. But when the eternal elegance of Elise Pioch Chappell’s Maison Balzac candle line meets the spunky romanticism of Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett’s fashion label Romance was Born, heads turn.
Launching on March 27 is La Romance, a limited-edition candle (only 300 have been produced) that marks the creative fusion of these lovers of fashion (Pioch Chappell was the buyer of The Corner Shop and the Belinda boutiques before she turned her fine hand to candle making).
“Romance Was Born and I have spoken about creating a candle together since I launched my brand,” says Pioch Chappell. “It was very natural and one of the most blissful collaborations I have ever been given to work on.” When conjuring up images of what romance means to them, the trio came up with the allegory of an enchanted forest; at the same time as being verdantly fertile and full of promise, it can be a place to get lost in, with unexpected twists. In translating the idea into a scent, Pioch Chappell has captured notes of cedar, fir, pine and Peru balsam with a sudden hint of bitter orange zest.
This potent combination of woody masculine scents with a light splash of feminine citrus is re-imagined by the whimsical drawings of Ella J. Holme that adorn the candle’s box. Here Neptune and Zeus intertwine among the grandiflora of a forest bed, making the box as much of a keepsake as the candle itself.
But what makes Maison Balzac’s soy candles so unique is that no two are the same. Their milk glass holders have been individually handmade from one of the last existing manufacturers in the world, making each one slightly different. Once the candles have been burned, Pioch Chappell encourages the glasses to be lovingly re-used.
And with the stresses of Australian fashion week rearing their pretty little heads next month, how are Sales and Plunkett planning to keep calm and carry on during their runway show? By burning the candles backstage and imbuing their world with La Romance, of course.